Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Blog-Along: Wolf Hall, Episode 4 - The Devil's Spit

I took a bit of a break last week from Wolf Hall, so my apologies if you missed my weekly babblings! We are now on Episode 4, so sit back, relax, and enjoy (or watch along, if you'd like of course). If you haven't read my thoughts about the previous episodes, Episode 1 can be seen here: Wolf Hall, Episode 1. Once again, I will be editing everything to avoid large spoilers, and to make things a bit more concise, but it will mostly be my thoughts as I have them.

Wolf Hall, Episode 4 - The Devil's Spit


           Play by Play

  • Anne looks so in love with the baby, it's wonderful...and then she shows her loveliness in full. Let's destroy the lives of other children so that mine can flourish. 
  • Well played Anne, you know all about Cromwell's connections
  • Crazy woman time. Crazy woman prophesying everyone will die. Yay.
  •  Crommy strikes again! I have spies here, here, here, here, and oh...four here. Now, want to tell me that lie again? Oh God, can you imagine if he was actually in charge?
  • Well said, More, well said. You and Cromwell are a good match for each other
  • "Cremwell" is back! Why, oh why?
  • Time stamp 20:58: Ahahaha! Oh no, please tell the Lord Chancellor how you really feel! Oh, and Thomas More's son-in-law makes an appearance as well. Are you as crazy as he is?
  • Who else would like an awkward hug from King Henry VIII? Because Cromwell sure would like those moments of his life back
  • Wow, I didn't realize how much Cromwell respected More. I wonder if a large reason why his mind is as sharp as it is is because he wanted to emulate More. His wit, his poetic turn of phrase, his scheming mind - how did he sharpen them? Interesting that this respect seems to have stayed despite the things More has done
  • That is a heck of a lot of blood. Legitimate, or dramatic effect? Yes, these are the kinds of things I wonder about when watching
  • Always scary how little they knew about gender and pregnancy and such.
  • "I keep you because you are a serpent. Do not be a viper in my bosom". Wonderful quote. Several great quotes in this episode
  • More, I respect you keeping with your convictions, no matter what. But will you have the strength to keep this up?
  • Beautiful depictions of Cromwell's memories
  • An ending both sad, but also with hope.


Thomas Cromwell is a mastermind. I think that if I had to sum up this episode, that would be the best line I could give you. From his interactions to Thomas More to those with Anne Boleyn, the King, and everyone in between, he never disappoints. He has connections everywhere and knows precisely how to use them to his full advantage - and it's a hell of a laugh for those of us on the outside to witness.
Episode 4 deals predominantly with Thomas More, and the question of what is and is not acceptable to God/considered a sin. It's fascinating to see the thoughts present in the time period, and although everyone has their individual perceptions there are some factors that seem to be shared for the most part amongst all (and very different than those we would share today). Looking at the morality of the King and of More gives rise to questions about Cromwell's own character. Is the official breaking of the union of marriage through divorce any different than taking a married woman into your bed? Both things involve the breaking of one person's oath to God - and with this being a large argument during the time period - where does this leave Cromwell?
My one complaint, I would say, would be the rush through some parts of Anne and Henry's storyline. Not being familiar with the books that this series is based on ("Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel), I can't comment on whether or not this is a book accurate decision. Although I suppose that they are not the major focus of the plot here (rather just why the plot occurs in the first place), it feels a bit rushed at times. Being in the perspective of Cromwell, I understand that our understanding of their characters is purely that which he sees and hears, and it wouldn't be possible to give us too much development of their characters...but I think the series would benefit if a bit more care was taken here, especially since so much was taken throughout the rest. It's a shame that this feels rushed while everything else is at a slower pace. However I wouldn't be surprised if this is partially to avoid this series feeling like the same thing everyone has heard over and over and over again - Henry and Anne.
All in all, a good episode dealing with several important characters and their beliefs. Ending unfortunately on a bit of a sad note, this episode also gives the promise of good things to come. Looking forward to Episode 5 - the series definitely gets better the further on we go.

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